Alexandria conservation officer Mitch Lawler was honored recently for his work in the area in helping the public be aware of safety on the water.

The Minnesota DNR presented Lawler with the Boat and Water Safety Achievement Award during their annual awards ceremony and training conference at Camp Ripley. Lawler has prioritized boat and water safety education and enforcement since he became a conservation officer in 2012 in the lakes-rich Alexandria area.

“Whether he’s interacting with boaters on the water, talking with kids in a classroom, or giving a presentation to a citizen group or business, Lawler is constantly focused on boat and water safety,” Enforcement Division Director Rodmen Smith said. “Simply put, his commitment makes the water a safer place to enjoy the outdoors.”

Lawler was one of five enforcement division DNR workers who were honored at Camp Ripley. Tom Hutchins, a conservation officer since 2004 stationed in the Crookston area, was named the 2020 Conservation Officer of the Year.

“This award represents the highest achievement for natural resources law enforcement officers in Minnesota, and CO Hutchins couldn’t be any more deserving,” Smith said. “He takes great pride in his work, is invested in his community and cares strongly about our natural resources. Hutchins is a great example of the difference conservation officers make every day.”

Other enforcement division honorees were: Jim Guida, Brainerd East station - Waterfowl Enforcement Achievement Award; Angela Londgren, Cambridge - Willard Munger Wetlands Achievement Award; and Tricia Plautz, Henning - Enforcement Education Achievement Award.